(Source: Terrado, Jonas, “New Coach, New Hope For Recharged Falcons,” Manila Bulletin, July 02, 2008, F3)
The Adamson Falcons fell into hard times last season as high expectations turned into major disappointment after landing near the bottom of the standings with a 2-12 record under the reins of then-head coach Bogs Adornado.
For the 71st season of the UAAP, the Falcons rehired a familiar name who took them to the final four two seasons ago in hopes of changing the team’s fortune.
With Leo Austria back for his second stint as head coach, Adamson quickly surprised the observers with their strong performance in the pre-season tournaments held during the summer.
Bolstered by the addition of new recruits and returning veterans, the San Marcelino-based cagers finished fourth in the Fil-Oil Flying V Invitational tourney while nearly entering the quarterfinals of the Nike Summer League.
"I think we gained the respect of the other (UAAP) teams dahil napaguusapan kami," Austria said. "Before the start of the preseason, parang iunderestimate kami pero ngayon parang unpredictable ang laro namin."
Despite the departure of top scorer Patrick Cabahug, the Falcons still boast of top outside shooters like Jerick Canada, Paul Gonzalgo, and Marc Agustin.
Canada, who averaged 4.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists in limited minutes as a rookie last season, could see his production go up this year after a strong showing that saw him earn a mythical five selection in the Fil-Oil tournament.
On the other hand, Gonzalgo shot well offensively with his outside shooting while Agustin made solid contributions after returning from an ACL injury. Backup guard Lester Alvarez could also see some major minutes off the bench.
The Adamson frontline will be saddled by the departure of Roel Hugnatan, leaving the chores to veteran Allan Santos, Julius Colina, and new recruit Michael Galinato.
Galinato, who made stops with San Beda and La Salle but didn’t play a single game with either school, also made a strong impression in the pre-season with his play on both ends of the floor.
"First year pa lang ni (Mike) Galinato sa UAAP, pero yung playing experience hindi pa niya nakukuha so kailangan magmature agad siya dahil importante siya sa shaded lane," said Austria.